A long process of grief and anger, reflection and inner work led her to understand that the biggest betrayal was that she had given away her own authority… Through our needs and idealism we abandon our heart’s wisdom, our own true nature.
– Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
That quote is all that is written on a sheet of paper stuck into one of my journals. I remember starting this book (it’s such a great title), but I never finished it. I don’t even remember reading this quote, so I can’t tell you the context in which it was written other than it spoke spot-on directly to the context of my life at the time.
I had given away my authority in favor of being liked, faithful, committed, successful. I disregarded what I knew to be true, my heart’s wisdom, so as to not disappoint anyone. I said yes to others requests for my time and energy; turning my back on myself, and my own needs for rest, play, and connection.
I was making decisions about my life based on the needs and expectations of the people around me. What did I need? What did I want? I’m not sure I could have even told you — until I started practicing yoga. The physical practice of yoga allowed my chatty (and catty) mind to quiet down. All those people who were holding council meetings in my brain had to sit outside the room while I did yoga. And there on my sweet mat with only room for one, I was left with me. Me relating to me. It had been a while. I barely knew how to be with myself without fidgeting wildly. It was hard to look myself in the eye, if you know what I mean. I was embarrassed and ashamed for having been away for so long, for disregarding and disrespecting myself for so long. I cried at the end of many a yoga class, in the same way as I cry when a beloved friend and I make-up and forgive each other from a hard conflict or misunderstanding.
It was through this practice of yoga that I started to become aware of my own voice and to fine-tune all my ways of listening to my voice through my body, mind, and my spirit. I started to trust my voice, my experience, my wisdom & intuition; my own sense of authority.
I always start my yoga classes in meditation; either sitting in a chair or lying on your back. When I remember, I encourage everyone to peel off all the layers of you that relate to everyone else. So, like you take off your socks or your jacket, peel of the layers of you that relate to your family, your work, places of responsibility, friends, etc…peeling off all those layers until your left with You, relating to You. I imagine some people feel much like I did then; uncomfortable in my own presence without the protective layers of identity, relating to everyone and everything outside of myself.
The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is called “Becoming Pro-Voice”. We are going to use the physical practice of yoga (asana) to quiet the conversations in our head, and fine tune our listening to our own voice, speaking to us through our body, mind, and spirit. I think it’s going to be a great day. I am entirely biased, but these are just absolutely glorious mornings. Come on. Sign Up. There’s only space for 20. You’ve got to tell me you’re coming. Saturday, April 11th, 9a.m.- noon at Philo Presbyterian Church. $20 (OBO). Bring your own yoga mat (or tell me you need one and I will bring one for you to borrow), a bottle of water, and a towel or small blanket. It will be great to spend the morning with you. You and Yourself will have plenty of sweet alone time to get reacquainted, I promise.
Peace on your head,